Episode of Naval Aviation In Audio, Radio program on Regina Community Radio. No.251, aired March 5, 2014.
This episode's genesis begins with an urge to play Avram’s Metalstorm. I selected a passage from the fourth Night from William Blake’s Four Zoas, where Los, the prophet of Eternity in the form of a blacksmith, is rebuilding the fallen world out of the smashed body of Urizen, the god of reason. Out of these deathly metal remains, the deeply flawed modern world is fashioned with limits placed on death & chaos. In terms of a single life, a child destroys her own imagination in order to gain acceptance in the fallen “adult” world, and for a time relinquishes her right to reshape reality (the fall of Tharmas, in Blakean terms). Into this void rises the rule of Urizen, corresponding to the school system, where abstract ideas reign over material existence. When in early adulthood we realize scholastic notions of grammar and geometry have little direct relevance to our survival, Urizen’s empire declines, and we are left in a state of chaos until we can successfully enter the real world of jobs and money. Los’s activities in the fourth Night are humanity’s efforts to create something out of whatever remains of our imaginations, whatever is not utterly destroyed during our adolescence.
But how do I relate Blake’s use of metal to heavy metal music, you ask? Well, Los’s activities in the Fourth Night relate to our imaginative efforts to recreate life out of the fallen world of markets & money. We shore up our own existence, and only then look for a reason to live. The fact that “survival” and “living” are somehow separate activities is a particularly modern problem – a merely philosophical quandary (“existentialism”) to some, and a practical-theoretical question to some others (“Marxists”). But in any event, Heavy Metal music is an attempt to divert the purpose of capitalist machinery to unify the principles of survival and life-force. It puts the buzz of engines to therapeutic use, and adds a scream of protest.
And Ana-Maria Avram is doing something parallel with Metalstorm, a piece of computer assisted music that seems to conjur up a heavy metal pastoral, generating the “metal flies” referenced in GWAR’s Metal Metal Land. A dystopic swamp where gigantic contraptions emerge to breed with ominous high-voltage stormclouds descending.
A small correction: I said Exciter was from the late-1980s – in fact, the band was formed in 1978, with Heavy Metal Maniac released in 1983, which means these Ottawa headbangers anteceded (and are said to have influenced) the first generation of west coast thrash (Metallica, Slayer, Death Angel, etc).
1. Moments Of Silence – Sheavy 2. Heavy Metal Maniac – Exciter 3. Naval Aviation In Art? – Frank Zappa 4. The Iron Giant – Hylozoists 5. Iron Dogs – Exciter 6. Bipolar – Metallic Taste of Blood 7. Is Your Metal Heavy? – Muscle Bitches 8. Fountains Of The Forgotten – Buckethead
1. Metal Metal Land – GWAR 2. Metalstorm I – Ana-Maria Avaram 3. One Tooth For The Time Train – Buckethead 4. The Metal – Tenacious D